Cove Rangers gave their supporters an early Christmas present by continuing to keep up with league leaders Brora Rangers as they recorded a 3-1 victory over Forres Mechanics. Their opposition played their first game in almost a month due to postponement.
Goals from Eric Watson, Daryl Nicol and Blair Yule wrapped up the victory for John Sheran’s side. A good performance from the Can Cans and a goal from sub Liam Baxter couldn’t prevent the away side from getting nothing out of this match at North Lodge Park.
The hosts were without Stuart Duff and Stirling Smith but Dean Lawrie and Jonny Smith returned. While the Can Cans were missing Stuart and Graham Fraser.
The first real chance came for Charlie Rowley’s side when Dachi darted down the left flank and cut back to passed the ball into the feet of Simon Allan who whipped in a cross which Lee Fraser headed but it lacked power so keeper Stuart McKenzie managed to gather it.
Minutes later, the first yellow card was flashed for Forres player Duncan Jones’s challenge on Blair Yule. When this happened some Cove fans shouted “Ref you are spoiling the game keep your cards in your pocket.” at referee Peter Stuart. Soon after Jones had to be taken off due to a dead leg in the hamstring area and was replaced by on loan Inverness Caley Thistle player Chris Blackett.
At the other end just outside the box Yule struck a powerful shot but it went narrowly wide of the target. Then the Wee Rangers had a glorious chance to take the lead when Harry Milne headed straight over the crossbar from close range. In the 26th minute the hosts broke the deadlock when Connor Scully swung in a corner from the right hand side which landed perfectly for unmarked Stuart Walker who passed the ball through a gap between the back line and Eric Watson tucked it home.
Forres went on the counter attack with Khutsishvili skillfully getting the better of a defender and he crossed the ball to McGovern who headed it but McKenzie tremendously tipped it over the bar. Now the Georgian player again proved to be a threat to Cove’s defence and he caught the ball sweetly which looked to be heading for the top corner but it looped onto the roof of the goal.
In the 33rd minute Cove doubled their lead after Milne played a clever ball through to Scully whose powerful shot was saved and Daryl Nicol pounced onto the rebound to powerfully fire the ball into the net giving the keeper no chance. Then Daniel Park crossed the ball into Nicol who netted with a diving header however the flag went up as he was in a offside position.
Just before the break, Scully put in a dangerous delivery with Nicol lurking in the box hungry for a second goal but Allan did well to cleared the ball to safety before Nicol could pounce. After the break Cove went up 3-0 when Yule sprinted down the line with nobody able to stop him in his tracks and he smashed the ball low into the far bottom corner of the net out of the reach of helpless Knight.
Scott Moore made a mistake which nearly costed his team as he allowed danger man Nicol in behind but his shot was saved and the ball was cleared before Nicol could get the rebound. Dachi turned his marker and set up Fraser but the player’s first touch was poor which allowed the keeper to come off his line. In the 65th minute Rowley brought on Liam Baxter in place of Ross McPherson and he made an instant impact. With his first touch two minutes later he got a goal back for the visitors as Baxter ran onto the end of a long ball and was composed to slot it home.
Jamie Watt came on Cove and missed a glorious chance as his shot went wide of the target from a couple of yards out with his composure deserting him. Not long after the home side had a penalty claim with Nicol being bundled over inside the box but Peter Stuart waved play on.
The Can Cans introduced another substitute with Fraser Forbes coming on and he crossed a delightful ball into the box however there were no takers. Watt had a brilliant chance to get on the score sheet when he went around Knight with ease and was about to pull the trigger but slipped which allowed the defence time to clear it.
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